The fancy name for eating poop is coprophagia, but maybe you already knew that. Anyway, this subject is one that is very near and dear to my stomach, so I was honored to be asked to write about it in Piper's blog.
You might say that coprophagia is a favorite pastime of mine. You might say this because I spend quite a bit of time doing it. I'm not sure when I first became a poop gourmet, but it might have been when I was living in the shelter. I was very thin when I lived at the shelter because I was afraid to eat the food. The reason for this was that I had to share my run and my food with two other dogs, and sometimes they did not want to let me eat. I think I told you this before, so I apologize for repeating myself. Anyway, I found that I could eat the other dogs' poop, and they did not challenge me when I did that.
After Mom adopted me, I kept pursuing my coprophagia hobby. In fact, I taught Barry by example that it was a great thing to do, so now we have a shared love of poop. The main difference is that Barry sometimes brings his yummies in the house to eat them, which really annoys Mom, especially when she steps in them. I at least have the good manners to keep the poop outside while I eat it, but then Mom gets annoyed if I don't want to come in because I am too busy eating an especially tasty tidbit.
There are a lot of different theories about why dogs do coprophagia. One theory is that it's something they learn as puppies because a mother dog licks her pups in order to get them to pee and poop. Then the mother dog eats what the pups produce. The reason she eats it is to keep the nest clean, and also to prevent predators from smelling the puppies. So puppies usually do a little sampling of poop when they are young, but when they grow up, most of them only eat regular dog food.
Another theory about coprophagia is that dogs who do it have some kind of intestinal illness or a deficiency in their diet. But this is an older idea that is not so popular now. Here are some other possible reasons for poop-eating: boredom, anxiety, seeking attention from the owner, or scavenger behavior. Some dogs prefer other types of poop instead of dog poop, such as cat poop or horse poop.
There are also different theories about how you can get your dog to stop eating poop. I'm only sharing these with you because they mostly don't work. They include things like putting meat tenderizer or pumpkin in the dog's food to make the poop taste icky, or putting chili powder on the poop before the dog tries to eat it. But the only thing that really seems to work is if you always pick up a dog's poop as soon as it is deposited.
Mom has decided there is basically no way to keep Barry and me from eating poop, so she doesn't even try very hard. She just hopes we will not get worms and other bad stuff. Sometimes she keeps the yard picked up pretty well, but if there is no poop to eat, we just eat sticks or dirt or other interesting stuff like that. Mom thinks we are crazy, but of course we are not crazy at all. We are just doing what dogs do.
Gabe and Piper only eat cat poop, so they are what you might call picky eaters. Barry and I will eat almost anything. We are very open-minded about our food choices. One of the best times to eat poop is in the winter, when it is frozen and crunchy. A frozen turd is called a "poopsicle," and it is a very special wintertime treat. Nice, fresh, warm turds are good, too, though. Sometimes I'm not sure which kind I like better because they are all so wonderful and delicious!
Well, Mom says I have probably said enough about this topic since not everyone will find it as fascinating and palatable as I do. I hope I have not offended any of Piper's readers by discussing coprophagia in such a frank and enthusiastic way. I just can't help the fact that this subject is one I relish so deeply!